17 Jan 2015

Protesters on Manus beaten - Rintoul

9:09 am on 17 January 2015

The Refugee Action Coalition says security guards, including Papua New Guinea locals, attacked peaceful protests at the Australian run detention centre on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island yesterday.

The Coalition's Ian Rintoul says it was the threat of using force to move refugees out of the detention centres and into insecure housing at Lorengau that precipitated the peaceful protests and hunger strike.

Protests on Manus Island during the recent hunger strikes.

Protests on Manus Island during the recent hunger strikes. Photo: Supplied

Mr Rintoul says four hours before the attack, the new Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, said they were happy to negotiate and discuss the situation.

But he says there was no discussion and no warning before the security guards began attacking and beating protesters at the Oscar and Delta compounds at the centre.

He says he was shocked by the brutality shown against people already weakened from two days of fasting.

Manus protesters, PNG

Manus protesters, PNG Photo: Supplied

Ian Rintoul says the actions by security firm Transfield is likely to inflame the situation even further.

Tensions have been rising in recent days as most of the asylum seekers approach 18 months of detention on Manus Island and at least one protester has stitched his lips shut.

The camp has also seen riots, which resulted in the killing of an Iranian asylum seeker last year.

The Papua New Guinean government has denied reports of a violent confrontation between asylum seekers and security staff at the Manus Island detention centre yesterday.